Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: Trouble for Wal-Mart in Mexico, justice in Iceland


Residents of the Mexican town of San Juan Teotihuacan, cheer the opening of 'Bodega Aurrera', a subsidiary of the US chain Wal-Mart, in November 2004. After months of controversy, Bodega Aurrera, opened its doors less than two miles from the archaeological site of Teotihuacan.


Alfredo Estrella

Need to know: 

Only one politician in the world has been forced to stand trial for his role in the 2008 financial crisis. 

That politician, former Icelandic prime minister Geir Haarde will learn his fate today, Reuters said. A court in Reykjavik is deciding whether Haarde should be held responsible for not doing enough to rein in Icelandic banking sector before it brought the country's economy crashing down.

Haarde is being charged with gross negligence and could face up to two years in jail if convicted.

Want to know: 

Wal-Mart's got big trouble in Mexico.

The New York Times this weekend dropped a bombshell, revealing how the big-box retailer built its Mexican growth on illegal bribes to government officials. Even worse? The company shutdown its own investigation into the alleged bribery and failed to notify government officials, the Times said. 

Reuters said the mess could cost a few Wal-Mart executives their jobs and force the US government to pay a lot more attention to what Wal-Mart is doing overseas. 

Dull but important: 

The US today is expected to update the world on when it expects its Social Security and Medicare programs to start running out of cash. 

Last year, the trustees overseeing funding for the programs said the US had enough money to pay Social Security benefits it has promised citizens through 2036. After that, it would have the money to pay about 75 percent of the benefits promised to Americans. 

Social security already pays out more in benefits than it collects from taxes, CNNMoney noted.

Just because: 

Aussies must be really bad at planning for financial emergencies.

Australians borrow a combined $1.6 billion a month from friends, family and colleagues each month for unexpected expenses, according to a new study by an Australian bank

Unfortunately, things don't always work out. One in five Australians has lost a friend over a bad loan, the study found. 

Strange but true: 

Wall Street bankers are taking power naps in some strange places. 

Instead of catching up on lost sleep underneath their desks, some Wall Street bankers are napping in bathroom stalls, Bloomberg said

That's just weird.